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Is Yukon St. getting “super sharrow” bike symbols?

July 21, 2015
Why are there green rectangle down the middle of Yykon Street, I wondered.

Why are there green rectangles running down the middle of Yukon Street? I wondered.

Crossing 12th Avenue today (July 20), I had Vancouver City Hall on my left and Yukon Street running on ahead of me northward, down the slope to West Broadway Avenue and beyond, drawing my eye toward the distant North Shore mountains, no longer obscured by any wild fire smoke or haze.

You can see a bit of an an existing bike stencil marking the northbound  lane for

You can see a bit of an an existing bike stencil marking this as a “bike friendly” lane.

The other thing that drew my eye was the succession of large green rectangles, beginning on the north side of 12th Avenue and marching down the center of the northbound lane of Yukon Street, at least as far as 10th Avenue.

From a great height I imagined that they would look like a widely-spaced dashed line.

I guessed that they had something to do with the bike-friendly status of this stretch of Yukon Street (there’s a dedicated bike lane southbound and the northbound lane has long been marked with bike stencils)  but I couldn’t guess exactly what the city had in mind.

Even Vancouver City Councilor Andrea Reimer seemed perplexed by the rectangles when I asked her about them on Twitter:

It’s since occurred to me that I’ve probably only seen half a job, that Monday’s green rectangles are just part one of a two-step process.

Share and sharrow alike

yukon-strret-green-boxes-03

A visualization of what the finished sharrows on Yukon Street might look like.

I’ll bet that on Tuesday, city crews will stencil over each of the green rectangles with a white design consisting of a bicycle topped by a chevron, which is a “sharrow” symbol for roadways shared with bicycles.

A plain white sharrow and a super sharrow. -- City of Vancouver

A plain white sharrow and a super sharrow. — City of Vancouver

The city of Vancouver includes the sharrow (either white only, or white on green) on its list of symbols and signs for designated bicycle routes.

The reason that I didn’t guess that I was looking at sharrows-in-progress is that I’ve never seen any in actual use yet in Vancouver (they’re probably all over the downtown core) — but I’m guessing that I will soon.

The Great Second Street blog out of San Francisco says that the plain white sharrow symbol was invented by the San Francisco MTA early in the 21st century and that a later collaboration with the U.S. Green Lane Project resulted in the super sharrow, which places the white symbol on a rectangle of retro-reflective green paint. Click the images to enlarge them.

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